Eight pod homes for the homeless planned for car park near St George Park
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Eight single-person pod homes for the homeless could be built on a car park near St George Park, BristolWorld can reveal.
The modular fully-furnished units would be on Derby Street car park, next to the Church Road and Blackswarth Road junction in St George, and would form part of a new housing scheme aimed at tackling homelessness in the city.
The Salvation Army, Citizens UK and Bristol City Council are all behind the plan for the pods, known as SoloHauses, which would be lived in by people for up to three years before they find permanent accommodation.
A planning application will be submitted in the coming weeks for the development of the units on part of the car park - which would still retain the majority of its parking spaces.
A Bristol City Council spokesperson said: “If planning permission is granted, Project Malachi will provide eight units of modular housing on Derby Street car park in St George. It will be used as supported move-on for individuals who have previously been homeless.
“The council is looking to gift a 30-year lease of part of the car park to the Salvation Army, who will also provide tailored support for tenants.
“A public consultation for local residents was held in December and we expect a planning application to be submitted in the coming weeks.”
The accommodation would be offered as ‘stepping stone’ accommodation for tenants nominated by Bristol City Council in collaboration with the Salvation Army.
The project aims to support tenants to improve their relationships, financial situation, mental and physical health, making them less likely to return to homelessness in the future.
The dwellings would come fully furnished with a fridge, an electric hob, a washing machine and a change of clothes.
They have been built in a British factory to Future Homes Standards, heated with an air-source heat pump, a low-energy and cost-efficient way of heating a home, keeping bills to £5 per week for each resident.
Last year, an estimated 23 homeless people died in Bristol, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics - while a snapshot survey taken on one night between October and November 2020 found 50 people were sleeping rough in the city.
Deputy Mayor and Councillor for St George West Ward, Asher Craig, is among those backing the plan.
She told BristolWorld: “The development of eight flats will provide low-level accommodation for residents who will be supported have throughout the length of their tenancy. This support will be around tenancy management and living independently.”
During the pandemic, The Ministry for Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) provided funding for additional properties to be made available for people housed by the local authority in temporary and emergency housing.
That funding had been used to bring empty properties into use, said Councillor Craig.
On the pods, she said that while they would be classified as ‘temporary housing’ and the aim was to help people on their way to fully settled accommodation, people would be able to stay in them for up to three years.
She added: “There will be wraparound support available for the tenants to enable living independently, to integrate into the community and build local connections, help with finances and budgeting and address any problems that might come up.
“With rapidly increasing house prices, the private rented sector in Bristol is inaccessible to the vast majority of people using homelessness services and the proposal from the Salvation Army will increase the availability of affordable and accessible housing.
“The proposed Derby Street development will provide much needed alternative housing solutions for people who do not need the level of intense support provided in supported housing but still need a bit of wrap-around support to help them gain the skills and confidence needed to maintain a tenancy and a home.
“We are pleased to be working in partnership with the Salvation Army to provide these new homes as tackling an issue like homelessness cannot be done by one organisation alone.
“We all need to work together and continue to come up with new solutions to help support some of the most vulnerable in our society”.
The kit homes have been donated to the Salvation Army by housing developer The Hill Group.
The accommodation initiative is called Project Malachi, named after a young boy named Malachi who donated his £5 tooth fairy money to the Salvation Army.
The money came with a note saying he wanted to help those who were homeless. Malachi’s donation sparked a fundraising initiative leading to 42 self-contained flats being built in Ilford, East London.